In KEXP's new weekly series Living Singles, the KEXP staff contributors highlight three brand new singles that are resonating with them right now. Listen to Jasmine Albertson talk about her picks alongside Sound & Vision's Rachel Stevens or read about the songs below.
If you’re not familiar – although you should be because they’ve been around for almost a decade – Seacats is a local band led by Josh and Mike Davis alongside some variation of roughly seven members that initially gained quick recognition for making catchy as hell, just absolute banger indie rock tracks like “Firewood” and “Wrecked” and “My Shoes.”
Over the years, Seacats has evolved into more of a Sun Kil Moon or Mount Eerie-esque non-rhyming, highly verbose, kind of diary entry project. Or, as the band is calling themselves, therapy rock. Apparently, Josh did some intense childhood therapy for a number of years and it’s been coming out in his music.
This latest single, “Battlefield 1942,” is one doozy of a therapy session and also just a gargantuan, sprawling track in itself. Apparently, the band worked on it for multiple years and it shows. It’s over 10 minutes long and in that time span we don’t get just one song – oh no, there’s songs within songs – a songception one might say.
First of all, we have this highly detailed and very vulnerable story about Josh and Mike’s childhood and experiences with their dad that’s at times funny but mostly quite sad. And, at the same time, as Seacats always does - there’s still a hell of a catchy hook. It takes a while to get there - roughly 5 minutes, but it’s so worth it. I mean cmon “I cry and I cry and I cry and I cry and I cry and I cry” as the hook - that’s incredible. Simple, straightforward, relatable, cathartic. Everything you want in a hook.
There’s also an interpolation of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” at one point as well as a recording of one of the first songs Josh ever wrote just thrown in the middle of this other song as it a sort of storytelling technique. And it works. Somehow, it works. Only Seacats could pull it off.
Mt. Fog is also a local band but more likely one that you haven’t heard yet. The project of Carolyn B., she only just started Mt. Fog in 2019, which is wild because when you listen to Mt. Fog or watch her play, it’s a very fully-realized project that seems like it’s taken years and years to toy around with and eventually master. She grew up a classical violinist and sang Balkan music but it wasn’t until 2019 when she was in her 30s that she decided to finally make her own music. And now that she is, it seems like it had to be something that was just brewing inside of her all this time because the music she’s been putting out has been so well-done and original. There’s just nothing else that sounds like it coming out of Seattle.
And, to describe that sound, I’d say the best genre tag I’ve come across for Mt. Fog is folktronica. So far, her music has been mostly synth-based but coupled with these super operatic, gothic Balkan vocal stylings that’s super unique in that it marries very new sounds with very old ones for something completely original. She gets a lot of comparisons to Kate Bush because of her use of lush textures and very grandiose but controlled vocal stylings and just this element of mysticism.
Her latest track, “Behind a Silent Door” was released June 24th and is the lead single from her forthcoming sophomore record Spells of Silence, which follows 2021’s Guide to the Unusual. Where that album was made up of mostly haunting, dark, downtempo tracks, “Behind a Silent Door” is upbeat and dancey and shows that perhaps Mt. Fog can party too. A Balkan Banger, one might say. But also still retains the mystical elements that are central to Mt. Fog. Carolyn says the song is about “leaping into the dark…happily” and in response, I say, “I’m comin with, let’s throw away that key!”
We’re exiting the Northwest for this one. Winter is the project of Samira Winter, who is Brazilian and based in Los Angeles. She makes just achingly gorgeous dream pop, which is probably the genre if absolutely forced to listen to only one for the rest of my life I’d probably go dream pop, so she’s very much up my alley and while she’s dabbled in other genres over the course of her musical career as Winter, this song brings it back home to her dream pop roots.
It’s called “Lose You” and it was just released this week via Bar/None Records and follows 2020’s Endless Space (Between You and I) which was her third record. But while the song is this angelic shimmering, swirling, euphoric haze, lyrically it’s actually very dark. Samira wrote it after realizing a friend was being abused so the lyrics “I don’t wanna lose you /he just wants to bruise you” are unfortunately based on reality and much darker than the lightness and romance that the instrumentation implies. Personally, I really love the interplay between conflicting sounds and lyrics in songs and “Lose You” is an excellent example of that conflict done right.
For more of Jasmine Albertson's conversation with Sound & Vision's Rachel Stevens about these songs, listen to the audio embedded above.
After a year of missing live shows, KEXP has asked artists to share their personal journals, sketches, photos, and memories from being on tour